Thursday, February 28, 2013


I think I had too much fun in Melbourne last week.  I'm finding it really hard to settle back into real life and even harder to settle back into my writing life.  Usually after even a few days away, I'm champing at the bit to get back to writing, but this time, I'm just not...

Maybe it's because I'm not actually working on anything.  I'm going to start revising Stumped (Ozzy) soon, but I'm not quite ready to start yet.  I need to start querying Sidewalks, but for some reason I'm reluctant to do it.  Maybe because I love this book so much.  I've put so much of my life into it.  I just know the rejections are going to sting.

And I haven't even looked back at Paradise, my NaNo novel that I left near its climax to write Stumped.  And I should do that.  But I think the amount of revision its going to need is intimidating me.

So I'm beta reading for a friend, and critiquing for others.  I guess it all helps, but I'd love to get that rush of excitement that sends me racing to my computer as soon as the kids go to bed again.  And leap out of bed at 5.30am, eager to dive back into another world I've created.

Have you ever felt this way?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guest Post: Kurt Chambers

Today's post is a guest post from my friend and critique group member, Kurt Chambers.

He's come up with a unique marketing idea for his book.

Take it away Kurt!

Title: I'm Giving Away 100% of my Royalties

Yes, I really did say I am giving away 100% of the royalties of my book to anyone who wants it. Not only am I going to give you ALL my royalties, I'm also going to make it as easy as I can for you to collect them with a step-by-step guide on how to do it. It really is that easy! Whoever signs up to be an affiliate vendor within the next 3 months will get 100% of the royalties. At the end of this period, I may extend this to even longer depending on how successful it is, but I will still be offering a generous percentage of at least 50% so the faster you act, the more money you could make. This is an opportunity you really don't want to miss.

If this is something that would interest you, then please read on...

How Is This Even Possible?

Okay, by now you probably think I have lost all my senses, but you would be wrong. I have spent the last eight years of my life working on writing, editing and publishing a series of children's fantasy novels. The first book in the series, Truth Teller, was published last year and is already an award winning novel. The second book in the series, The Wrath of Siren, is due out this year. My mission as an author is to reach as many readers as I can. One popular way of doing this is to give your first book away for free as an incentive, but a lot of people in the writing community frown upon this, claiming it devalues the price of books and all the work an author has put into it. I can understand this being an author myself and knowing how much work this involves.

I want to find an alternative way of reaching my target audience that would benefit everyone, especially my readers. As an author, my reading public are the most important people to me, so why not offer them a slice of the action. A huge slice, in this case. 100% of my royalties. After all, if you as a reader are prepared to help me promote my book, then what else could I offer you in return that is better than cold hard cash? Money talks, right?

Is This Something I Can Do?

The simple answer to this is yes! Because I am going to make it very easy for you. All you need is a link that you can post on your website, whether that be a blog, your personal site, or even your Facebook page. You can even send this link to friends in an email. You can promote it in any way you want. Anyone who clicks on this link and buys my book will be paying YOU 100% of my royalties. It is as simple as that.

How Do I Get My Link?

Here are the technical details. In order for you to take up this amazing offer, there are two sites you need to sign up with if you are not already a member. Both are completely free and easy to set up. First is the site where my book is being sold, Smashwords (linked) Unlike Amazon, Smashwords offers readers e-books in any format for whatever portable device they use as an e-reader. When you sign up as a member, you are automatically registered as an affiliate member and ready to accept my royalty payments. Smashwords pay all their payments through PayPal (linked) This is the other site where you need to make an account so you can accept payment. You need to add your PayPal account to your Smashwords account which is easily done by clicking the 'Account' tab on Smashwords and choosing the ' Edit/update payee information' link and filling in the form.

Now you have your two accounts, you just need your promotion link.

This is the link you need. All you have to do is replace the yourScreenName with your Smashwords screen name and you are ready to go.

To locate your screen name, click to your My Smashwords page, and look in the web browser address bar. You'll see an address where the last characters after "...view/" are your screen name. Example: My screen name is KurtChambers " " So my link would be...

What Do I Do Next?

The rest is easy! You use your link to promote my book in any way of your choosing. Post the link on your website, or send it in an email. I have set my Smashwords settings to pay 100% of the royalties to the affiliate (YOU). That is 81.5% of the book price after Smashwords have taken their cut. Each books sells for $2.99. When someone clicks your link and buys the book, you get paid the royalties.

Please see Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program Documentation for full details.

Promotion Material

Now all you need is some promotional material that you can use to promote this fantastic book, and I will provide this for you also. You can use your link to attach to a simple image on your site, or you can do a whole page dedicated to it, it's up to you how you choose to promote it. Do what you think is most effective. Remember, the more books you sell, the more money you make. Below, I will provide you with pictures and posts you can use to promote this novel. You can simply copy and paste any of this straight into your website or email. Use as much or as little of the information as you wish. Remember to use YOUR LINK when you send a potential buyer to purchase the book.

Example: Buy Truth Teller now at


Book covers:


Truth Teller Award:

Preditors & Editors Award Winner

Best cover artwork of 2012

Truth Teller Synopsis:

How could a modern day girl like Charlotte ever envisage that magic really exists? Even with her own vivid imagination, the place for other realms belonged in a child’s fairy tale. Or so she thought, until she stumbled across a hidden curio shop and an even stranger shopkeeper. He gives her a gift that resembles an antique snow dome, but this is not an ordinary globe. The world Charlotte has always known disappears as she’s spirited away into a mystical land.

This is the beginning of a lifelong friendship that changes Charlotte’s life forever. Discovered by a young elf alone in the forest, she embarks on a journey in search of a group of travelling Entertainers. She encounters heart-stopping dangers and real life monsters, but a far greater threat shadows her every move. Even the strength and skill of her new found companions cannot protect her against a ruthless druid assassin.

But in this realm, Charlotte is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.

Author Links:

Truth Teller Fan Club Page:

You can connect with the author at:

Author’s Web page
Author’s Blog

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to contact me or leave your question in the comments section below. I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. Good luck! 

Thanks Kurt!  And best of luck to you with this project.  Do pop back sometime and let us know how it all worked out for you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I'm back!  And can I say, the trip was 100%, 1000% worth it.  I'm so glad I went.  I feel like a new person after spending 4 days on my own, in a city I love, catching up with people I haven't seen, in some cases, for over 20 years.

I wrote a really super-long blog post about my trip, then re-read it and realized no one else would be interested in it but me.  So I'll summarize instead.  With photos....

This is what I went to Melbourne for.   They have been my favorite band since I discovered them in about 1987 and until last Sunday, I'd never seen them play live.  That has now been remedied, and I saw them twice this week.  I'm a huge music fan and have been to some pretty awesome gigs in my time.  The Cramps on Halloween 1991 comes to mind.  Kristen Hersh when she was touring Hips and Makers.  NIN supported by The Wolfgang Press.  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at the Forum.  All great shows, but nothing like as powerful and crazy as EN on stage.

I know their songs really well, but until now, I've had to imagine how they make the insane noises they make.  Now I've seen it and it's even more impressive than I imagined.  These guys are so innovative and crazy and talented.  Not to mention funny....

The added bonus of this trip was the opportunity to see another of my favorite bands, Crime & The City Solution.  Here's a  picture of Alex Hacke and Mick Harvey who came and played on a few songs.  Which was really awesome because he was in one of the early line-ups of this band.  I'd been a little worried that I might be disappointed by them.  It's been 22 years after all...  But they were fantastic and played almost all my favorite songs along with some new ones that made me all the more excited about their upcoming album.  It's called American Twilight in case you're interested...  Out in March.

Tell me about your favorite bands.  Have you ever been to a live show that has been transformative?

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Those of you who have followed this blog for a while might remember this post from last year.  And maybe this one.

Well, I bit the bullet and decided seeing Einsturzende Neubauten in concert was far too important to me not to go. So I'm off to Melbourne on Sunday to see them.  And, in fact, Crime and The City Solution who just happen to be playing the same festival.  So I get to see not one, but two of my favorite bands on one day.  Plus they're both doing sideshows early next week, and I'm going to those too.

I am so very excited!

I'll be back on Thursday, with pictures.  And probably ringing ears!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Too Low?

It occurred to me the other day, that my attitude toward querying and sending out my writing work has changed dramatically in the past few years.

It used to be that I expected every query or contest entry to be the one.  My work is fantastic and everyone will want it.  It never occurred to me that people wouldn't see it that way.  So I got a lot of rejections and boy did it hurt.

Now when I send a query or a requested manuscript, or enter a contest, I expect rejection.  I don't have that spark of hope any more.  I still love my stories, and I still want them out in the world, but after almost four years of querying and hustling to get my babies out there, I've become hard-wired to expect rejection.  And it doesn't hurt so much any more.

I don't think this is a very healthy attitude to have, but I'm not sure how to get that spark back.  I feel like the publishing journey has ground me down.  I still love writing, but the whole trying to get published thing is really hard and soul destroying.

Do you feel this way too?  Are you pre-programmed for rejection?

Friday, February 8, 2013


After taking a few days off from writing after finishing Stumped, I've dived back into revisions on The Sidewalk's Regrets.  I made it to the agent round in Cupid's Blind Speed Dating Contest and figured it would be a good idea to do another pass through the manuscript before the big day.  Just in case I got any requests, you know?

And I'm glad I did.  It's been a few months since I read through the book, and I found two quite glaring continuity errors on my first pass through.  I plan on doing another next week, and who knows what I might find?

There is a reason why everyone says to let a manuscript rest before you revise.  And this is it.  I've read this book 100 times, and I've never noticed those things before.  So taking the time away has been valuable.

How long do you take before you revise?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Kissy Kissy...

Here's my entry for the awesome Kissing Scene Competition being run by the always amazing Cupid.  If you want to join in, go here to see the rules!

And without any further ado, here's one of my favorite kissing scenes from all my books.  It's from The Boyfriend Plague, and the scene comes after Livvie and Bianca have been out together for the first time.  They went to a gallery opening, drank a little more of the free chardonnay than they should have, and got kicked out by the owner.  This is what happens next....

I lolled against Bianca, aware of her distinctive raspberry scent enveloping me.  My laughter caught in my throat and I had trouble breathing through it.  I looked up at her, watching the way the streetlights played across her features.  With her head thrown back, her throat was long and white and I was overcome with a sudden desire to touch it.
I didn’t say a word, but she seemed to hear my thoughts.  Her laughter quietened and she turned to look at me, her eyes glittering in the sodium glow.  For a long time we stood there, eyes locked, the warm breeze wafting across our skin.
Bianca bent her head and her lips settled upon mine.  They were warm and soft, slippery with lipstick.  I shivered and pressed my own lips hungrily against hers.  Her mouth opened a little, and I followed, admitting her inquisitive tongue.  It tickled mine, darting in and out, waltzing across my tastebuds.  The flavor of wine, exotic and sour at the same time, flooded my mouth.
My heart beat a rapid tattoo through my chest.  This was wrong.  I should not be doing this.  But I remained mesmerized, nerves I’d never noticed before singing songs of ecstasy along my spine.  Kissing Jesse had been nothing like this.  
She pulled away, slowly, as if surfacing from a dive.  She licked her lips, smiling in satisfaction.  Her lipstick, smeared now, blurred her mouth into something unrecognizable.  I ran my tongue across my lips and tasted her there, spikes of electricity igniting in my belly.  This was better than I could have imagined.
“Wow…” she breathed.  “You’re good.”
“Am I?”  I reached for her again, wanting nothing but her mouth on mine once more.
“Yeah, you are.”  She pushed me against the wall and I lost myself in her kisses.
Time held no meaning.  It could have been seconds or forever before I drew back.  Nothing so good could be wrong, yet my stomach writhed with guilt.  “I…  I should get home.”  My voice was unsteady.
Bianca glanced up at the star-speckled sky and nodded.  “Yeah.  Me too.”
It felt completely natural when, as we walked toward the bus stop two blocks away, she slipped her hand into mine.

There you are!  Tell me what you think, and do pop around the other entries to see what amazing kisses there are out there.  I know I plan to!


Titles are hard.  I find that I either start my books with a really good title in mind, or write the whole thing without any clue what it's going to be called.  My hard drive is littered with drafts called 'Casey' (working title of Assignment 9) 'Chris', (working title of a still unnamed book - it's been called Downward Spiral at times, but it doesn't really work), 'Liz' (an unfinished book that will probably never be done) and of course 'Ozzy'.

I don't understand why titles are only sometimes a challenge.  Chasing the Taillights had that title right from when I fist conceived the idea.  The Boyfriend Plague too.  And my novella, Angels, Oddities and Orthodox Habits always had that title.

But after having wracked my brain for the entire writing process, I'm happy to have come up with a title for Ozzy other than its hashtag #virginamputee which sounds like a bad airline.  The title of my book is now Stumped.  It works on many levels....  Just trust me on that.

Do you find titles troublesome?  Or so they come as easily as breathing?